On Friday afternoon, they were complete strangers.
By Sunday afternoon, they had created 30 new solutions to real-world problems related to health communication, from apps and websites to devices and electronic medical record innovations. Four of those ideas emerged as winners, but all hold the potential to keep moving forward toward real-world application.
The frenzy of innovative activity happened as part of the first-ever Gupta Family Hackathon for Health Communication.
Organized by IHPI with support from U-M alumni Sanjay Gupta, M.D. and his wife Rebecca, the event brought together more than 120 students and professionals from U-M and other higher-education institutions, as well as community members. Teams worked late into the night, and started early the next morning, to complete their project concepts, designs, prototypes and business plans.
Two dozen U-M faculty members and business leaders offered their time over the weekend as expert mentors, as the atrium of the Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building was transformed into a hub of innovation. Detroit Health Department director Joneigh Khaldun, M.D., M.P.H., and Jeff Arnold, founder of WebMD and Sharecare, provided context and inspiration in keynote talks along with Sanjay Gupta.
In just over 24 hours of work, teams drawn from the worlds of clinical care, health sciences, science, engineering, digital technology, communication, business and design teamed up to create new ways to overcome gaps in getting the right information to the right people at the right time and place.
The event opened with brief "pitches" by those who knew of health communication problems in need of a solution. Like a grain of sand that forms the basis for the formation of a pearl, these ideas became the nuclei for teams that self-organized Saturday morning, each with members from different fields. The teams then scattered throughout the BSRB atrium to work intensely for the next 24 hours, perhaps with a break to watch the U-M basketball game and a few hours of sleep at home.
By Sunday midday, they were ready to give brief presentations , showcasing the product of their weekend of hacking, in front of their fellow participants and a panel of judges.
The winning teams were:
Best Presentation (based on participant vote): WeFound
Focused on creating a "knowledge graph" of interests and findings in health care and biomedical research that is based on phrases rather than keywords, and offering a free platform. Sample API available here.
Team members: Haitham Maya, Ashish Kamath, Max Hamilton, Alvin Tong, Sujai Arakali, David Chang, Kayura Mendonza, Matt Gaidica, Maninder Singh, Akira Nishii
Most Creative: Virtual Visit
Focused on creating virtual-reality representations of healthcare facilities and procedures, with interactive narration, to help patients understand their care environment and experience in advance, and reduce anxiety. Sample available here.
Team members: Sameehita Mohan, Haoran Xiao, Victor Manske
Most Practical: NICU Dashboard
Based on a team member's own experience as a mother of an infant treated in a neonatal intensive care unit, the group's digital dashboard focuses on integrating and presenting data about a critically ill newborn's progress and care in a way that overwhelmed parents can easily understand.
Team members: Elizabeth Wason, Andy Scott, Alicia Secord, Divya Patil
Highest Potential Impact: Spool
A platform to enable real-time communication between providers and patients and among healthcare providers, while also feeding documentation into the electronic medical record.
Team members: Julia Brennan, Andrew Gonzalez, Katherine Hoffman, Gloria Kim, David Lorch, Breanne Melow, Rosemary Putler, Jonathan Skaza.
IHPI director John Z. Ayanian, M.D., M.P.P. and member Preeti Malani, M.D., served as judges along with Kevin Ward, M.D., director of the U-M Medical School's Fast Forward Medical Innovation initiative and Robert Yoon of CNN and U-M's Knight Wallace Journalism Fellowship program. Diane Bouis, Ph.D., MBA, director of Ann Arbor Health Hacks, served as MC. Elyse Aurbach, Ph.D., Brian Zikmund-Fisher, Ph.D. and others provided workshop-based training on communication and presentation skills.
The Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce's HealthForward Initiative and Epic Systems, Inc. provided additional funding, and staff from IHPI and the Michigan Medicine Office of Medical Development planned and ran the event.